How to Shoot Live Photos Even If You Don't Have a New iPhone

Live Photos is one of the headline features of the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. But if you haven’t forked out for one of Apple’s 2015 handsets, there are ways to get the same kind of functionality on your own smartphone. All you need is the right app, and these are the best of the bunch for Android and iOS.

Boomerang

Facebook has never hesitated about blatantly copying what everyone else is doing, and so (via Instagram) comes Boomerang, an app “that lets you turn everyday moments into something fun and unexpected.” Tap once and the app takes a burst of photos before stitching them together.

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Illustration for article titled How to Shoot Live Photos Even If You Dont Have a New iPhone

You can share to Instagram, Facebook, and elsewhere, and the clip also gets saved to your device in a standard video format. There’s no audio capture facility included in the current version however, so you’re stuck with visuals only. [Free on Android and iOS]

Gif Me!

Ah, the humble GIF—the venerable file format has found a new lease of life in our modern digital age, and is usually the go-to image type for anyone who wants to create moving pictures that work across platforms. There are plenty of GIF apps out there, but Gif Me! is one of the best we’ve come across.

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Illustration for article titled How to Shoot Live Photos Even If You Dont Have a New iPhone

Some of its features are locked behind in-app purchases, but the interface is slick and smooth and there are plenty of options to play around with: Manual focus, a timer mode, frames, stickers, the ability to convert existing videos and more. [Freemium on Android]

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Giphy Cam

Over on Apple’s platform, it’s hard to beat Giphy Cam in terms of features and functionality. Capturing GIFs is as simple as hitting the shutter button (or pressing the physical volume key), and you can then leave them as they are or add some special effects and filters on top.

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Illustration for article titled How to Shoot Live Photos Even If You Dont Have a New iPhone

As you would expect from something GIF-related, the app is bright and brash but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some seriously impressive results out of it. All the usual sharing options are included so you can quickly share your creations with your friends. [Free on iOS]

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Vine

Let’s not forget about Twitter’s Vine app. It’s not quite the same as Live Photos but it’s along similar lines, and you don’t have to use up the whole six seconds of available time if you don’t want to. A handful of tweaks are available to get your videos looking their best.

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Illustration for article titled How to Shoot Live Photos Even If You Dont Have a New iPhone

Of course the advantage Vine has over Live Photos is you can easily share your clips with anyone else (on any mobile platform or across the web). If you need to, you can keep the action going for a little longer than a Live Photo. [Free on Android and iOS]

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DISCUSSION

To those asking how this is different from a Video, I’m going to assume this is similar to the Animated Photo Feature that came with my old Galaxy S4 (watch?v=shR28_P6EBQ). The format was more like a GIF or Motion Jpeg. Very short clips are created and good for looping. There’s also a little bit of software trickery in place to help the phone ‘find’ the part of the photo that is in motion.

For example, my cat was looking out the window with her tail rapidly wagging, so I took an Animated Photo. Despite any subtle movements in the photo or of the camera, itself, the software was able to detect that the only part in motion was her tail. Here’s the picture, below, it’s a GIF format. You’ll notice that the entire photo is still except the tail.